Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
Upcoming SlideShare
Wealthfront Equity Plan
Download to read offline and view in fullscreen.



How to go from structureless to structured without losing your vibe

Download to read offline

Lessons on creating an engineering ladder

Related Books

Free with a 30 day trial from Scribd

See all

Related Audiobooks

Free with a 30 day trial from Scribd

See all

How to go from structureless to structured without losing your vibe

  1. Moving Towards Structure Camille Fournier CTO, Rent the Runway @skamille
  2. My Story • Grew Rent the Runway’s engineering team from ~12 to 55 and counting
  3. My Organizational Goals • To create a relatively meritocratic environment • To limit bias • To develop the leadership talent on my team • To hire a diverse workforce
  4. Flat • We start flat, except of course for “the founders” or perhaps “the executives” • First you have 3 directs • Then 5 • Then 10 • Then… you start to break down
  5. Time to add some structure! • Maybe I’ll hire a VP of Engineering!
  6. How about a Tech Lead? • Great I’ll take my most senior/favorite dev and make them “Tech Lead” of some of the software
  7. Perhaps a Director of Engineering • Not quite VP, not quite Tech Lead
  8. Either way, your flat is dead • It was never true anyway, so it’s probably for the best
  9. What does this new leader DO? • They make my life easier, of course!
  10. No, really • I dunno. They handle… – Project Management! – People Management for part of the team! – All Management so I don’t have to! – Architecture!
  11. If you don’t know, you’re set up to fail • Inevitably, this person is going to not read your mind exactly the way you wish they did • How do you know whether they’re incompetent or just confused? • How do you hold them accountable when you don’t know what they’re SUPPOSED to be doing?
  12. “They’ll define the role themselves!” • If you hire someone who has done this job before and you have a shared context, that might be ok – IE, you both worked for Google, and you hired a senior manager at Google to be a Director of Engineering
  13. A bad, but common, case • HR hires people with random titles based on what you said you needed to hire • “Frontend Engineer” • “Lead DevOps” • “iOS Specialist” • Pay people directly based on experience and whatever HR magic formula
  14. Creating Clarity The minute you create hierarchy, you need clarity
  15. The Engineer Ladder: What • The list of job levels and the description of what goes in each of those levels • BEST PRACTICE: Above Senior Engineer, has a separate path for “Manager” vs “Individual Contributor” • A device to create clarity on your team and, if done well, limit bias
  16. The Engineering Ladder: Why • Gives you a framework for hiring, paying, promoting • Forces you to become more clear in what you expect from people • Forces you to push that clarity into your hiring process and possibly hire better • Gives your team a growth path that helps them imagine their future with you
  17. Creating an Engineering Ladder • Step 1: Ask your friends for theirs – Step 0: Make friends with people who have teams big enough to justify a ladder • Step 2: Be realistic about how it applies to your team – You may not need all the levels. You may need more levels. • Write it up. Get feedback. Rewrite it. • Share it.
  18. I really don’t want to do this Why not?
  19. I’m afraid everyone will be clamoring for titles • They probably will when you roll this out BUT • This gives you the chance to make it clear to them what success looks like! • Give them something to work towards! • Give you both a framework for talking about how they are succeeding and how they are not
  20. Expect some anxiety • Ladder rollouts do generate anxiety around upward mobility • On the flip side, with no ladder, people that care about upward mobility leave for a better title elsewhere
  21. I’m afraid people will think they should be promoted who aren’t ready • Well then, that is why you need to be very clear about what you expect at each level • People will want to be promoted with or without a ladder, if you have any sort of leadership • They’ll also want bigger pay, more options, bigger projects • How do you determine who gets what?
  22. I’m afraid titles will cause us to lose voices of others • It takes more than “no titles” to ensure that voices are actually heard
  23. There are more paths to excellence than climbing a ladder! • True! And a ladder doesn’t take the place of other training • Embrace add-ons, badges, specialties
  24. Premature optimization! • True. You probably don’t need to do this when you have only 1 non-founder/executive “leader” • But the minute you need 2…
  25. Your vibe is a function of your company values and culture Do you know what your company values are? It is very possible to design a ladder to reflect and reward those values WHAT ABOUT MY VIBE?
  26. I’m the CTO, this isn’t my job! • Like hell it isn’t • If you are very lucky, you might find a VPE to do this for you – I would not hold my breath • This isn’t rocket science. If you can architect a system, you can architect a team.
  27. Conclusion • Clarity Clarity Clarity • Clarity
  • nikkhilnani

    Apr. 19, 2021
  • ziadtawfeek

    Mar. 12, 2021
  • thyrlian

    Oct. 27, 2020
  • thiagoghisi

    Sep. 28, 2020
  • StefanKudev

    Sep. 25, 2020
  • LynnChen29

    Jul. 24, 2020
  • YemiAwoyemi

    Jul. 13, 2020
  • jogchandan

    Jul. 6, 2020
  • HongxingYang2

    May. 5, 2020
  • JanineHeinrich

    Jan. 7, 2020
  • MukundKaushik

    Sep. 9, 2019
  • charlesalva

    Sep. 1, 2019
  • NiranjanVissa

    Jul. 29, 2019
  • lsdr

    Jul. 8, 2019
  • mrt181

    May. 10, 2019
  • aco950

    Apr. 30, 2019
  • AMiddel

    Dec. 27, 2018
  • RayCarroll1

    Nov. 25, 2018
  • miajudkins

    Nov. 19, 2018
  • crownus

    Nov. 17, 2018

Lessons on creating an engineering ladder


Total views


On Slideshare


From embeds


Number of embeds